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detailperfectblendOne of the reasons that hand made things are worth making and having is that a machine makes things totally perfect but when we make things by hand they will have variations which in a machine made item would be counted as flaws.  Hand dyed yarn has this lovely variation in color value.  Hand knitted items have slight variations in tension.  We can call these things flaws or we can see these variations as a reflection of the way nature behaves.  The beauty of nature can be in its color and value and in its symmetry or it can be in its deviations from the average in any of these things.  Think about a leaf and its perfect symmetry but if you go into your yard and look at all the leaves on a tree you will be hard pressed to find one that is as perfect as the one you conjure up in your mind.  Hand made items are similarly imperfect and that imperfection  carries with it a similar signature of the creator of the item.  In a sense, we are both a part of nature and mimicking the way nature behaves when we create.  And that is the beauty of our human experience as creators of art and craft.


Casapinka, who is a knitwear designer you can find on, is having a mystery knit along event entitled The Perfect Blend.  The project is for a shawl and the first two portions of the mystery have been revealed.  I am participating because this seems like so much fun and because I wanted to see how an event like this is done.  The photo attached to this post is of the 12 colors I chose for the project and they are arranged in order the way they will go into the shawl.  The yarn arrived as skeins and that’s a great way to store yarn you don’t plan to use right away but it is not the easiest way to knit yarn so I went low tech because I don’t have the toys involved in doing the transformation into cakes, namely a ball winder and spindle.  But everyone has the equipment I used in their homes.  I used the end of a wooden spoon in place of the ball winder and my knees in place of the spindle.  It was a very meditative activity.  Doing things the slow way can be educational too.

The yarn is beautiful hand dyed sock yarn from and you can’t see how beautiful it is in this shot because the photo focuses on the group of 12.  One of my upcoming blog posts will showcase the hand dyed variation in tones and why I love it so much.  Also that post will include some tiny bits of the perfect blend shawl to show the texture and tone of it.  By the way, the perfect blend event is also about enjoying tea in the summertime and Casapinka has included recipes for flavored teas.  Any of you who know me personally know that I do enjoy the odd cup of tea.



Knitting is meditative.  It is a joy to see the piece slowly evolve from a yarn cake into a garment.  In the case of the shawl in these pictures the yarn, Moonstone Merino Sock yarn in Blushing Crocus colorway from Neon Unicorn Studios, is a lovely gradient and watching it change from cake to shawl feels like watching magic.  This shawl is my own modification of the Flotus shawl by Shannon Squire which she says she developed because she was inspired by Michelle Obama.  I find her inspiring too!


In the coming days this blog will be changing.  I don’t want to throw away the jewelry content of this blog to make way for the knitting content so I am going to change the format and name to reflect the inclusion of more than one medium.  This way, there will be room to post photos and talk about anything creative.  Below is a simple and scrumptious scarf in two colors of green wool yarn.img_20190606_112837844

As a jewelry artist this blog was at various points important to me and at other points it seemed like a distraction from the main issues that needed my attention.  I dropped blogging when I moved in to studio space rather than doing as many art fairs as I could cram in to the summer.  My life changed and the studio didn’t seem to fit anymore.  There are definitely things I miss about being there but life hands you changes and finding a way to make things work is what matters most sometimes.

So here we are in the middle of 2019 and I haven’t touched jeweler’s tools in about 2 years.  I thought at the beginning of that time that I was just putting my jewelry business and creative endeavor on hold while I was doing these other things.  But it feels right now like that was a body of work and I need to move on to capture the fire of creativity.

A year ago I started knitting as a hobby because it is meditative and portable and because it allows me to create using color which is a thing I always felt fine silver jewelry lacked.  Not that stark contrast is inherently bad, just that color is beautiful in its own way just like texture.  In knitting one can have both color and texture at the same time.

Because we were taking so many trips to Tennessee to see my Dad the first scarf I knit took me 7 or 8 months to complete.  Some weeks I knit a row or even nothing.  But once that first scarf was complete things have been moving along nicely.

So this post is a bit about bridging a gap between a post from about 5 years ago and also an artistic gap between the medium of jewelry and the medium of fiber.  So where will this fiber art take things?  Here are my current goals: to make a number of items that will allow me to learn various types of knitting and discover what I connect with on a creative level, to begin designing my own patterns and all that is wrapped up inside that tiny statement, and to feel creative once again.img_20190606_125445_867


Amethyst on spaceship lentil bead necklace.




Sage leaf textured three leaves with tiny blossom and stem bail




Fluid ring necklace that goes with absolutely everything.




Dragon scale earrings with wildly colorful patina and the long ear wire style.



Zebra stripes and purple pearls




Old cartography texture with colorful patina and darling purple pearls



This is not a great picture of these.  Hearts with texture of an old love letter in french and larger rounded ear wires.

I will be doing two new shows in November so that you can find some lovely hand made, one of a kind gifts this year.  I will be doing the Mistletoe at Metro event on November 22.  The Metro Centre is less than 10 minutes from me so how could I pass that up!  I will also be doing the Walnut Grove Farms Christmas event the three days after Thanksgiving.  Walnut Grove Farms has the most amazing location, it is a barn that is over 100 years old.  You must see this beautiful, rustic place to believe it.  I will be posting some new photos as soon as I have a day with morning sunshine.  It is raining again today.  This is pretty typical for fall I suppose but I am just itching to show you some new enameled earrings I made!

As many of you already know, I have been making dogwood inspired jewelry for a long while now in honor of the fact that they were a favorite flower of my mother and in making these I honor her memory.  I love doing these and I love the way some of you have connected with the pieces, either because of my story or because you have your own reasons to love dogwoods.  Many of you have shared those with me and it has been a joy and an inspiration.  I noticed however that I have not posted a recent photo of any of them.  So in correcting that omission, here are some recent pieces.



Three dogwoods on a woodgrain backing with a cultured pearl.  This is one of the more elaborate pieces I have done.



This piece has a lovely warm patina and is similar to many that I have hand sculpted.  I have used many different textural elements for the centers, this one is a blossom texture plate.




This is a simple earring design I do with dogwoods that has a radial center and little stem like handles to hold the flowers on the dangle wires.




This pair of earrings is from my hand detailed texture plates.  This one is an oriental dogwood with the pointed petals and is adorned with button cultured pearls and heavily patinated.



Above is a fine silver floral ring that uses sage leaf molds I made from my own garden grown sage for the texture.  I have been thinking a lot about rings lately.  I love the challenge of ring making.  Below is a ring that is quite complex.  It contains a square shaped element that is constructed of copper and bronze which is riveted to a fine silver ring along with a hand lamp worked glass bead and a little silver disc to protect the glass during the riveting.  I will be at the Gazebo Art Festival in Macomb this Saturday to display these and many more.  The fair runs from 9am to 5pm and is Saturday only.





I am busy preparing for the Lincoln Art and Balloon Festival coming up this weekend and I noticed I had never photographed some rings I recently finished.  Designing rings has turned out to be a joyous endeavor.  I find that rings are much more three dimensional than other jewelry.  I don’t just mean that they wrap around your finger.  If you ignore the shank and just think about some item hovering over the top face of your finger the designs that come to mind are quite different than thinking of an element against the chest or dangling from the ear.  It has been creatively invigorating to make rings in a way I never expected.  There are so many possibilities for movement and so many tiny considerations that make a ring interesting.  The kinds of questions that I ask when I sit down to start a new ring are: what shape should the shank be, how wide, should it have texture, should both sides of the shank have texture, should they be the same or not, should they match the top element.  Of course I also have a theme in mind for the project like a leaf or a flower or a bowl shape.  The idea can evoke a mood or a feeling.  For the ring above I wanted something green, something that felt like walking in the forest.  The idea I wanted to bring to the fore was about calmness and peace.